Most nosebleeds occur in the front of the nose and involve only one
nostril. Some blood may drain down the back of the nose into the throat. These
nosebleeds typically are not serious, and you can generally treat them yourself
A less common but more serious type of nosebleed starts
in the back of the nose and often involves both nostrils. Large amounts of
blood may run down the back of the throat. This type of nosebleed may occur
more frequently in older adults because of health conditions they may have. You
will need treatment from a doctor to control bleeding from this
type of nosebleed.
Sit up straight and tip your head slightly forward.
Note: Do not tilt
your head back. This may cause blood to run down the back of your throat, and
you may swallow it. Swallowed blood can irritate your stomach and cause
vomiting. And vomiting may make the bleeding worse or cause it to start again.
Spit out any blood that gathers in your mouth and throat rather than swallowing
Pinch the soft part of your nose shut between your thumb and forefinger. The nose consists of a hard,
bony part and a softer part made of cartilage. Nosebleeds usually occur in the
soft part of the nose. Spraying the nose with a medicated nasal spray (such as
Afrin) before applying pressure may help stop a nosebleed. You will have to
breathe through your mouth.
Apply an ice pack to your nose and
cheeks. Cold will constrict the blood vessels and help stop the
Keep pinching for a full 10 minutes. Use a clock to time the 10 minutes. It can seem like a long
time. Resist the urge to check after a few minutes to see if your nose has
After 10 minutes, check to see if your nose is still bleeding. If it is, pinch it for 10 more minutes.
Most nosebleeds will stop after 10 to 30 minutes of direct
Stay quiet for a few hours. Put a
light coating of a moisturizing ointment (such as Vaseline) or an antiseptic
nasal cream inside your nose. Do not blow your nose or put anything else inside
your nose for at least 12 hours after the bleeding has stopped.
After you have stopped a
nosebleed, the following tips may prevent a nosebleed from happening
Avoid forceful nose-blowing.
pick your nose.
Avoid lifting or straining after a
Elevate your head on pillows while
Put a light coating of a moisturizing ointment (such as
Vaseline) or an antiseptic nasal cream inside your nose.
Nosebleeds may develop in people who have colds or chronic
hay fever symptoms (postnasal drip, sneezing, or a runny, stuffy, or itchy
nose) because nasal tissues become inflamed and irritated. Using medicines may
relieve the symptoms, leading to less inflammation and irritation and fewer
nosebleeds. But overuse of allergy medicines may lead to nosebleeds because of
their overdrying side effects. If you have a lot of nosebleeds, talk to your doctor about the proper use of cold and allergy medicines.
If you are helping someone else stop a nosebleed, avoid touching the
other person's blood. Use gloves, if available, or layers of fabric or a
plastic bag to protect yourself.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
March 22, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 22, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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